Long lines inside Bodo’s Bagels, congestion on Emmet Street and a seemingly endless stream of runners and scooters zooming past your car in early September can mean only one thing: University of Virginia students have returned to Charlottesville. The annual population boom occurs right before Labor Day, and Charlottesville and Albemarle County residents prepare for it as best they can. Because the return of 21,000 students coincides with back-to-school activities for K-12 parents, teachers and coaches, alike, the adjustment ritual is in full swing.

It is safe to say that many Charlottesville residents during this time of year, or residents in a college town elsewhere, believe “back to school” is really code for back to partying, socializing and loud music. Well, there is truth in that statement. While a healthy dose of each is part of the college experience, another healthy dose of student life that has become an annual ritual during this time of the year is something all of us should be proud of: the UVA spirit of service.

Gerard Robinson, Back To School Is More Than Back To Partying, Charlottesville Daily Progress (September 22, 2023).